Saying Goodbye

Several weeks before I retired, I planned my very last Teen Advisory Board (TAB) meeting.  Instead of conducting business, I decided to have a party and invite former and current member so that I could officially say goodbye and hug everyone. I knew that several of the teens that had graduated from high school were attending colleges in Illinois, but I had not the faintest idea if anyone would be home that weekend.  When I did not receive any replies, I assumed that everyone was just too busy.

When the doors opened on the day of the party, I was speechless and I just could not stop wiping the tears!  One of the former members told me that she had not been home for a couple of months, but she just had to come to say thanks and to give me a hug.  When Ryan, a young man who always “marched to the beat of a very different drummer” arrived, I said “you came”!  He looked at me, said, “why did you think I would not come?  I could not miss it.  Everyone lavished me with gifts, then, expressed their love, thanks and appreciation for my encouragement.

Over the years, I frequently wrote letters of recommendation when the students were engaged in the college application process.  When I received an e-mail from a former TAB member, I was so overwhelmed with such pride for him.  Mark was unable to attend the party, but he expressed his thanks for the help and guidance that I had extended to him.  “Your service in organizing student run programs and the Teen Advisory Board was so helpful for me. Thank you also for all of your recommendations.  I am in my second year studying Architecture at Cooper Union in New York City and I cannot believe how much I am taking in. My sights are limitless for the future…”  I must have gone through a box of tissues, and will always carry a special place in my heart for this talented, focused young man.

I may no longer work at the Teen Services desk, but I will always be an advocate for teens, so I look forward for opportunities to stay involved.  One of the current TAB members organized a team for the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life overnight walk at her high school so I signed on to walk in memory of my sisters.  We met for lunch during Spring Break just to chat and to finalize plans for the event.  One of the local high school librarians asked me if I would be interested in participating in the teen book discussion group that is held after school once a month. A middle school student invited me to attend her school play that was performed on a Saturday evening. What a stellar performance!  She just bubbled when I presented her a bouquet of Roses…

I am reminded of a line from a Spiritual that continues to resonate from the core of my being. “If I can help somebody as I pass along this way… then my living shall not be in vain”.  If you are having a challenging day, may I encourage you to “keep on keeping on.”  You may never know how much you are impacting the life of a teen.

Rose Allen

Teen Librarian, Retired



Starring TAB favorites!

Every winter my TAB teens work themselves into a frenzy finding books to “star” during our annual “star” meeting.  It’s a fun activity that helps them “own” the YA collection, via special stickers, and highlight the books they think are special and wish others would read.

Setting up this meeting is easy.  I have a “star” template for stickers that I make in-house.  On the rectangular form, one side features a star and the other says “Northbrook Teen Recommended 2011.”  Each year I change the sticker’s background color (and of course the year).  Each teen gets ten stickers.  They may pick a book from anywhere in the library, but only YA and Juv books get the sticker on the spine (Adult ref and reader’s advisory prefer the sticker to go on a book’s inside cover.)

Once they’ve collected their books, they bring them back to our meeting room, put the sticker on the book, and then fill out a form listing all ten books.  I use the list later to make up teen lists or bibliographies.

The new twist this year, now that we’ve migrated to a new catalog, was inputting their number 1 favorite books onto a Bibliocommons list under Staff Picks – Teens.  Instant gratification!

As always it’s always fun to see what these 6th-12th graders pick as favorites.  Below are some of these teen faves, with their comments,  for you to peruse!

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The characters were very realistic and I loved the history.

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Great sequel to Incarceron.

Wizards First Rule – Terry Goodkind

The start of an amazing series, so there’s plenty more to read if you find it interesting!

Born to Rock by Gordon Korman

The plot is very intriguing.

Green Day by Ben Myers

This was a great book about an amazing band.

Maximum Ride by James Patterson

It is a fast-paced book that is very exciting and lively.

The Last Olympian b Rick Riordan

Entertaining and suspenseful. The best of the whole series.

Harry Potter and the Deathly  Hallows by J.K. Rowling

It was a really intense book because it had a lot of drama, romance, and of course, wizardry!

Id_entity by Hee-Joon Son

It’s a good manga.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Suspenseful and funny – an unusual combination.

Beautiful examinations of normal life in a surreal manner.

It’s really really good. And it’s a vampire book where they don’t sparkle!

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

A very meaningful and deep book. It made me cry.